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Enjoy: "Firefighting Train" ~     ~ a la YouTube   Listening Tip

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So I ask myself, as I lay in a dream state, is there such a thing as a fire fighting car on a train? In the old days, there was always a caboose on the end of the train, used to house the conductor and employees who would monitor a train's passing over switches and who had access to the rear of the train for this purpose. Those days have passed, and for obvious reasons: no more switches, no more conductors, the need has diminished drastically.

The name 'fire fighting car' or 'fire car' may be shortened to firecar, like boxcar. This firecar could also carry EMT material, to be used for health care emergencies. See the last paragraph concerning contents being available to local communities.

What about a firecar which is designed to handle hazmat and emergency situations, especially for trains carrying hazardous materials? The more such cars carrying hazardous material on a train, the greater the likelihood that a firecar would prove essential to handle an emergency situation.

The contents of such a firecar would be much more than a fire axe and an extinguisher. There is an opportunity to carry a pump and plenty of water, foam, SCBA's, and such materials as essential to combat whatever hazardous material is being transported. Think about modern fire stations, with multiple engine types and the ability to respond to a variety of fire and hazardous material emergencies. For every such firecar there might be housing accommodations for trained emergency personnel, perhaps a minimum of two or three such persons, each having a specific role to play in event of an emergency.

And then I had a brainstorm! Google and search for this firecar! The video below is one result, and it seems there may not be another example like this in the United States? If your own search reveals otherwise, by all means send Allshare an update and this impression will be corrected.

I can imagine cars such as these on sidings in major train yards, becoming attached to such trains as are being built to travel with hazardous material. Upon returning to said yards, these firecars would be detached and aligned with similar cars on a siding, waiting for the next assignment. The more such hazardous material is being transported, the more such firecars to be inserted at appropriate intervals. What is an 'appropriate interval'? How far must an emergency team have to travel to deal with an emergency; twenty car lengths, thirty, forty, fifty, eighty? On a train with one hundred such hazard material cars, would one firecar be enough, two, four? How do you weigh the risk of an incident against the cost of prevention? There are actuarial tables that probe this question, but I am getting far too detailed in an appraisal that woke me from a dream state.

Essentially, I just wondered if there is such a car today in the United States, and if not, why not? It seems like a good idea. Also, emergency personnel need not be on the train. The railroad route goes through many communities which maintain trained and capable firefighters. It might be possible, from a design standpoint, to activate these people (including trained hazmat personnel) when the need arises, being able to provide these emergency people with the material necessary to deal with any situation. Again, I am getting far too detailed here, worrying about things beyond the scope of what woke me up. However, if the current approach is simply to make use of whatever a local community can provide in the way of EMT and hazmat services, the risks of not having necessary resources in men and emergency materials and equipment might be mitigated through availability of the firecar(s).

New generation fire-fighting train

Author:TheRussianRailways, on YouTube
Submitted by: JB Moss, 08 April 2014

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